The Congress of South African Trade Unions welcomes the increases in import tariffs on clothing from 40% to 45% on 35 lines of garments. The purpose of these tariffs is to protect the local market against cheap imports that might destroy local industries and jobs.
The G20 Forums in November 2008 and April 2009 urge countries to avoid protectionism, through the use of import quotas and tariffs, and/or local procurement strategies to protect domestic markets.
But despite these calls to avoid protectionism, protectionist measures by the rich have been increasing. For instance, rich countries continue to subsidise their farmers to the detriment of those in poor countries. This was recognised by President Zuma in his speech to the World Economic Forum in Africa when he said that "protectionist policies by the haves will deepen Africa's woes".
Farmers' subsidies in wealthy countries have led to disinvestment in agriculture, loss of jobs, migration to cities with resultant pressure on resources and they have destroyed farmers' and rural people's livelihoods.
For the past three years SA has been importing subsidised dairy products from the US with detrimental effects on the domestic dairy industry and jobs.
For more than 40 years rich countries have used the Multi-fibre Agreement to protect their clothing and textile industries to the detriment of poor countries industries. The MFA was terminated in 2005 but these countries continue to use tariff peaks to discourage clothing and textile imports from poor countries.